Goals from Xavier Margairaz and Oliver Buff earned FC Zürich their first UEFA Europa League win of the campaign and shattered FC Vaslui's dream of qualifying for the round of 32.
Aware that S.S. Lazio were winning in Group D's other match, the pressure was on the visitors to get the three points they needed to advance at the Italian side's expense. It proved beyond them, with Zürich biding their time before twice striking on the counterattacking in the final quarter.
The hosts had the better of a cautious first period, and should have taken the lead when Margairaz blazed his left-footed half-volley wide from close range after Admir Mehmedi's chipped pass. Long ball tactics brought Vaslui's Yero Bello the only other real chance of the half on the 21-minute mark; the striker raced onto a searching pass, but hesitated before eventually firing straight at Andrea Guatelli.
News of Lazio's lead against section winners Sporting Clube de Portugal had clearly filtered through during the interval, as Vaslui immediately went on the attack after the restart. It produced a stretched game, both sides trading opportunities though it was Zürich that ultimately profited from their opponents' change in tactics.
Miloš Pavlović's diving header from Adailton's free-kick on 48 minutes threatened Guatelli, but from then on the hosts controlled proceedings. It was a wonderful opener from Margairaz, who took full advantage of time and space afforded to him outside the area, picked his spot and curled a left-footed effort inside the left upright.
Goalscorer then turned provider, as his clever back-heel found Adrian Nikci just inside box, but his shot was held well by Claudiu Puia low to his left. Willian Gerlem had a golden chance to equalise, sending a free back-post header into Guatelli's gloves, but Vaslui's fate was sealed in the final minute as substitute Buff latched onto Margairaz's through ball and coolly chipped in.
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